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Sample Christmas Color Combinations

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Glenna J. Morton
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Part 2: Choose your color theme then strive for consistency

The Importance of Color - In some ways color is more important than actual design elements, since most people respond strongly to color.

Picture walking into an all white space with one bowl of apples as the only other color in the room. The apples might be bright red, vibrant green, or pale yellow . They might be spray painted white, purple, orange, gold, or silver.

Each color would most likely evoke different feelings in the onlooker. If you love red, then the red apples will be your favorite. If you are devoted to everything white, then the painted white ones might be your choice.

In this example it is easy to see that the color of the item has more importance than the actual item. After all, a bowl of styrofoam balls painted these colors would evoke nearly the same color responses. So, the lesson is to figure out which colors make you feel happy , then use those colors for decorating.

Color Combinations - When mixing colors it may be helpful to remember that most colors of equal depth will harmonize with each other. Pastels, for example, can be mixed with ease -- pink, peach, butter, baby blue, lilac, and mint.

Or the deep jewel tones of navy, hunter, and deep red will also combine well. In addition, most colors can be combined with either white or ivory, or with a metallic tone (brass, gold, silver, pewter, rusted iron, etc.) for a harmonious look.

Sample Color Schemes - Here are just a few of the endless color combinations that might be used for the holidays:

  • red and green
  • red and white
  • all white
  • any color and gold
  • any color and white
  • any color and silver
  • white, blue, and silver
  • ivory and brushed gold
  • sage green, ivory, and pewter
  • bright purple, blue, and green
  • icy blue, lilac, and silver
  • autumn tones of beige, brown, golden yellows, and rust
  • forest green, burgundy, gold
  • primary toy color such as red, yellow, blue

Not sure what to choose? Browse holiday gift wraps and examine the ones that catch your eye. What style are they? What themes or motifs are included? What colors do they use? You're sure to find some wonderful choices.

Monochromatic - In a monochromatic scheme only one color (with its variations from light to deep) is the star . Use all red decorations, or all green -- from pale lime to deep forest. Cool it off with a variety of blues from icy to midnight, or play it down with an all white motif.

Another way to add interest to a monochromatic scheme is with proportion and texture. Varying the size of ornaments and decorations will add interest and balance. Also, be sure to introduce some texture into a monochromatic scheme by using ribbon, garland, painted branches, matte vs. shiny finishes, and so forth.

Warm vs. Cool - Use the underlying properties of color -- their warmth or coolness -- to help you choose colors. In winter we often gravitate toward warmer tones of reds, warm yellows, and golden colors. But if your favorite decorations are snow themed you might want to use icy cool colors such as blue, lilac, silver, and white. Even all neutral color schemes have a warm or cool undertone -- many grays are on the cooler side while many beiges are on the warmer side. Back to Page 1 or Christmas Decorating Principles

 ~ Glenna J. Morton
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